Benny Jay: Gout!

September 29th, 2010

You’re not gonna believe this, but, I got gout. And, well, I don’t like to swear, but, FUCK!

What’s gout? It’s when uric acid calcifies and turns into this flaky shit that clogs your joints. Could be any joint — ankles, fingers, knees. Want a better explanation, look it up on Wikipedia….

The main thing you need to know about gout is that it hurts. I mean, it’s really painful — right up there with kidney stones and giving birth.

For the record, I’ve never given birth. But I have talked to a few people who have — most of whom happen to be women — and the general consensus is: That shit hurts!

But back to gout….

It’s sort of embarrassing having gout. What people know about it – if they know anything at all – is that it’s something old demented English guys get after gorging themselves on mutton and ale. In other words, it’s hard to look young, virile and studly if you’ve got gout. Not that I’m young, virile or studly. Just saying….

My gout’s in the big toe. Every step’s agony. I’m limping around like Nick Nolte in North Dallas Forty. Good flick, by the way….

It gets so bad I limp over to the walk-in clinic. Only for me they should call it the limp-in clinic. Ha, ha, ha, ha – I got a million of `em….

I get the rookie doc, of course. I mean, what do you expect in the walk-in clinic – Ben Casey? But, I swear, this one looks younger than Doogie Howser….

Sorry Dooggie, but I never liked your show….

“You have gout,” she tells me after I show her my foot.

I think: Duh, doc — I could have told you that and I barely passed biology….

“My father has gout,” she goes on.

Great, now I feel like a real old fart. It took me years to get over the fact that there are younger doctors than me. Now I gotta deal with doctors whose fathers are younger than me?

She starts asking about my diet – like it’s something I’m eating that’s creating all the uric acid that’s clogging up my big toe. Ever notice when it comes to doctors — it’s always your fault?

“Do you eat sardines?” she asks.

“No,” I say.

“Organ meat?”

“Organ meat?”

“You know – liver, kidneys….”

“Are you kidding me?”

“Do you drink a lot? That’s my father’s problem….”

I think:  I’m sure he’s happy you’re sharing his most intimate details with me.

I say: “I hardly even drink….”

Then I tell her the whole history about me and gout. Had my first big flare up years ago. Went to Dr. Harvey – the world’s greatest doctor — who asked about my diet. When he figured I wasn’t overeating the things that cause gout, he said I might have a genetic predisposition to it and he gave me these pills that kept me from building up uric acid.

Gout went away and never came back. What a guy — Dr. Harvey.  The man really knew his stuff. Plus, he loved basketball — we could talk for hours about the Bulls. When he died, I cried like a baby….

After Dr. Harvey died, I went to another doctor who looked at my blood tests and said my uric acid’s low. I said, it’s low cause Dr. Harvey put me on those gout pills. He said, let’s take you off them and see what happens.

Well — as we can now see — great idea, doc….

After I finish my story, the kid doctor says — “it could be your diet.” You know, like she didn’t hear the part about the lousy advice the doctor gave me. That’s the thing about doctors — they’re like thieves the way they stick together….

Here’s the good news. She prescribes some high-octane painkillers. I haven’t felt this good since I gave up weed back in `79. Or was it `80? Feel like a character in a Jimi Hendrix song: “Well, she’s walking through the clouds – with a circus that’s running wild. Butterflies and zebras and moonbeams and fairy tales….”

I’ll use any excuse to run a picture of Jimi Hendrix….

I pop a pill and go to the bowling alley for Monday night bowling. Get a cane and everything. Not gonna play, just hanging with my boys.

First thing I see when I limp in is Bob, the owner.

“What’s with the fucking cane?” he asks. “Is that your dick?”

“I got gout,” I explain.

“Gout!” he says. “You old piece of shit….”

Ah, Bob – always ready to lend a sympathetic ear.

As word spreads, guys are offering me advice and suggestions. Turns out everyone’s an expert on gout.

“You’re eating too much red meat,” says Mark, the cop.

“I hardly ever eat red meat,” I tell him.

“You’re drinking too much,” says Pat, the plumber.

“I don’t drink….”

“Fuck that,” says Bob. “Too much whacking off….”

Hmm. Well, it’s a theory anyway….

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